FEATURED ARTIST

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SASKIA MOORE

Born in the United Kingdom 1980, currently lives in London.

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PLAY HERE.mp3

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SUPERKALEIDOSCOPE PRESENT EMERGING ARTIST SASKIA MOORE WITH TEXT BY CURATOR ELIZABETH STANTON


While most descriptions of near-death experiences focus on the visual – seeing a tunnel of light perhaps being the most prevalent cliché – for her upcoming project, Dead Symphony, artist Saskia Moore explores individual accounts of the experience by asking survivors: What does it sound like?

In seeking answers she uncovered an occurrence that is both rare by account and potentially universal: that of clearly hearing music or non-verbal sound from an unknown source once unconscious. Working closely with a select group of participants, Moore is recording and archiving descriptions of the sounds they heard, using this material to then compose short, individual sonic pieces that she intends to weave together to form the final composition for Dead Symphony.

The project, which began in 2009, is an intimate and ambitious undertaking and has recently taken on a further level of complexity. As the 2011 recipient of the artist residency, ‘Embedded’ (an initiative of Sound and Music, the UK support body for contemporary music and sound art), Moore will be working closely with the London-based multi-instrumentalist ensemble, Apartment House to realise a live performance of Dead Symphony in 2012. Taking their name from the John Cage composition of the same title, Apartment House is headed by cellist Anton Lukoszevieze and since its inception in 1995 the group has gained international acclaim for their advocacy of avant-garde and experimental music.

Working with multiple collaborators, and presenting a complex project that remains sensitive toward participants and audience alike, is nothing new for Moore. Her background in both theatre and fine art (she holds a MFA from RMIT, Melbourne, and also manages her own creative production company, Vanilla Productions) has seen her produce work with a high level of community participation. Indeed, her work as an artist to date is marked by her keen interest in “community collection” and her innovative approach to documentary. She identifies experiences, objects, actions and memories that subtly form a point of union between individuals and groups who may not realise they share a common ground. She collects, records and archives commonalities, working primarily in sound and installation to present these collections in formats that allow for a shared experience.

Her work is marked by her inclusive approach and her clever deployment of narrative and repetition to draw our attention to the balance between difference and sameness, between private and public realms. Her pervious works are indicative of this approach, including The Fold (2008-2009), an installation of 20,000 envelopes sourced from the arts community in Melbourne and Sydney that referenced time, memory and shared actions; Audrey Jean’s Travelling Slide Show (2009-10), which saw Moore work closely with aged-care residents to create a performative installation of personal slides accompanied by a sound scape of songs contemporary to the time the images were taken; and the ongoing Grace Project (2010-present), for which she is collecting solo recordings of ‘Amazing Grace’ from 200 vocalists.

Sound is central to her practice and she likens her work in this medium to drawing, noting: “I see sound, so it makes sense for me to draw in sound”. The emotive and psychological potential of sound allows for a fluid communication of abstract ideas between artist and audience. With Dead Symphony, Moore aims to tap into the audience’s ability to recognise sounds that may be familiar, while creating a forum in which new memories and insights can be formed by listening closely to a composition born from the lived experience of dying.

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Dead Symphony will be performed by Apartment House in Autumn, 2012.


Article by Australian curator Elizabeth Stanton, currently based in London.

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SuperKaleidoscope kindly thank Saskia Moore and Elizabeth Stanton for their contributions.

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© All Images are courtesy of the artists.




This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

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Each month SuperKaleidoscope will feature an emerging artist selected by the directors and committee.

If you would like to make a submission please contact the SK Directors.
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